When I first picked up the PX4 and held it in a firing grip, I could feel that the pistol was very secure in my hand. The front grip seemed to grab my fingers and hold them there in place, though it was really subtle. I did not notice the rear of the grip giving me this "grabbing" feeling, but it did hold my palm from moving around really well. The polymer felt very solid and it didn't have a coarse, potentially uncomfortable feel to it like some other texturing can have for people with softer hands. My hands are very calloused from shooting for so long with very aggressive grips. That aside, i am surprised by the level of comfort that the grip gives. It has a subtle style to it that makes you wonder why other manufacturers didn't think of this too. The backstraps can be difficult to take off, but only for the first time from my experience. It does leave a reassuring feeling that it will definitely not break or pop off randomly.
Manipulating the slide on the PX4 is about the same as manipulating the slide on the 92 series pistols. It is incredibly smooth and for the contact points being so small, Beretta sure managed to get the slide to frame fit down really nice. When grabbing the rear serrations and racking the slide, I did notice that the safety/decocker levers on the slide are very pronounced and feel sharp against your hand if you grip the slide too tight. This can be remedied by getting the low profile levers and slide stop for about $80 from the Beretta store if you wish. Personally, I don't find them to be irritating enough to replace them for $80. I would recommend staying away from using the front slide serrations at all on any pistol, but they are there on this pistol for those who want to use them anyways.
The design of this pistol is in no way a new one. The whole pistol is basically three types of designs and put all in one gun. They took the rotating barrel and basic profile from their 8000 series of pistols, the trigger system and metallurgy lessons from their 92 series, and added in their new polymer frame design, which would host the other two features. These designs all combined seem to have meshed really well in my opinion. I like the awkward look and action of the rotating barrel. There is just something about it that is just attractive and makes you wanna keep watching it work. The pistol still rocks the 92 series safety levers, but sports a new kind of slide stop/release. The thing that Beretta did different with this pistol is they made it to where you can turn the safeties into decock-only levers within less than 5 minutes. I took advantage of this feature myself and I am very happy that I did. Kudos Beretta!
When the PX4 design first hit the market, there was a good amount of heartburn from the public due to the pistol not being able to accept M9/92 style magazines. The problem is that people didn't quite get the idea that it was not designed to replace the M9/92 series of pistols, but merely to be another offering entirely. I find the PX4 magazines to work quite well and to have roughly the same quality as my 92 series magazines. The difference is that the PX4 magazine leans slightly forward and carries two more rounds than the 92 series magazines while remaining the same height.
Beretta claims that the trigger system in this pistol is the same, or mostly the same, as the system that the 92 series uses. For the most part I would agree, but I believe that it too has been upgraded. The trigger return spring is almost double the size it is in the 92 series pistols. The trigger components are all together as part of a chassis that is pinned into the frame. The trigger bar rides and the trigger itself is wide and is made of a stiff polymer. Yes the PX4 shares some parts that look similar to the 92 series trigger design, but it is still quite different.
The trigger pull on the double action is quite different from the 92 series in that it is quite better. At 8.5lb, it is lighter and feels a bit smoother. The travel of the double action feels, to me at least, to not be as long as the 92 series. The single action is really quite pleasant and makes this pistol a good choice all around in my opinion. At 5lb, it seems to meet that happy medium between light enough for long range shots, and heavy enough to be safe under stress.
Running this pistol is a breeze to pick up. Whether you are sporting gloves, or just with bare hands, i find that this pistol is easy to apply to almost any task you could need a pistol for. It is a high performing pistol that just seems to have slipped past the masses for consideration. For around $500, this pistol is quite a good deal for any serious shooter.